Week 2 of the NFL preseason is back in action Thursday, but before you sit down to watch the latest batch of games, let’s review Week 1’s performances, with a look at the biggest weakness on each NFC team. Be sure to check out BetAmerica’s full rundown of the AFC, as well.
There’s still no word on running back Ezekiel Elliott coming to an agreement with the Cowboys on a contract negotiation. In the meantime Dallas struggled to get much going in the run game against San Francisco in Week 1. Mike Weber and Darius Jackson each had six carries for a total of 34 yards, while Tony Pollard and Jordan Chunn added another 21 yards combined.
New York Giants
Giants rookie Daniel Jones enjoyed an impressive debut against the Jets. Starting quarterback Eli Manning, on the other hand, garnered boos from the crowd following his three-and-out opening series. The Giants have a major quarterback dilemma, and it’s probably time for Eli to take a seat behind fresh talent.
Backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld went down with a broken left wrist in Thursday’s game against the Titans. The Eagles let go of their No. 2 quarterback, Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, in the offseason, so Philly is left to lean on Cody Kessler or rookie Clayton Thorson should the injury bug hit Carson Wentz again. That’s not exactly premium insurance.
#Eagles coach Doug Pederson tells reporters that QB Nate Sudfeld suffered a broken left wrist and will have surgery on Friday. But they won’t bring in a QB just yet. It’s on Cody Kessler to back up.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 9, 2019
Rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins didn’t have the best debut against the Browns, as he went 8-of-14 for 117 yards and two interceptions. The bigger concern, though, was offensive line play, which allowed Haskins to get sacked twice for a loss of 24 yards, and failed to protect Josh Woodrum, who got sacked for a loss of eight.
The Cardinals had the worst run defense in the league last year and continued to look weak in their first preseason game. They allowed the Chargers to run for 179 yards—52 of those given up by the first-team defense.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams fell to the Raiders, 14-3, and allowed Oakland’s quarterback duo of Mike Glennon and Nathan Peterman to throw for 258 yards. LA’s defensive line consisted mostly of second- and third-string players, and the pass rush was sorely lacking. The Rams tallied two sacks on the night, both in the fourth quarter.
— NFL (@NFL) August 11, 2019
San Francisco 49ers
In Week 1 the 49ers were without Jerick McKinnon—who is dealing with knee soreness—and Jeff Wilson Jr., but their depth at running back got even shakier in Saturday’s game against the Cowboys, when third-stringer Raheem Mostert suffered a head injury in the first half. On top of Mostert being sidelined, tackles Shon Coleman and D.J. Jones, guard Najee Toran and safety Marcell Harris left the game with injuries.
The Seahawks put on a decent performance in their 22-14 win over the Broncos, aside from amassing 15 penalties in the game that cost them 131 yards.
The Bears’ punt coverage revealed serious holes, failing to fill lanes and missing tackles. Chicago allowed Carolina to return the ball for 131 yards on seven tries, for an average of 18.7 yards per return, with a long of 57.
The Lions offensive line gave up nine sacks for 81 yards in their 31-3 loss to the Patriots. Quarterback David Fales suffered the worst of it, getting knocked down six times for a loss of 62 yards.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers defense was mediocre at best last season, and they clearly still need some help going forward. Green Bay failed to secure tackles and allowed third-string quarterback Joe Webb to scramble out of pressure on more than one occasion.
Coaches: tackle Joe Webb
— John Barr (@jbarr2003) August 9, 2019
The Vikings pulled out a 34-25 win over the Saints on Friday, but the victory came with a multitude of penalties (13 for 136 yards).
Atlanta could’ve been a good defensive team in 2018, but injuries plagued the unit. The pass defense didn’t show much promise in Week 1, and gave up 265 yards to the Dolphins, including 191 to Josh Rosen.
Cam Newton will be back in time for the regular season following shoulder surgery in the offseason. Developing third-round draft pick Will Grier into a viable backup option was a focus in Week 1, but the rookie turned in a less-than-exciting performance. Grier went 9-of-16 for 77 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. Kyle Allen appeared more confident and poised, going 7-of-11 for 76 yards, while Taylor Heinicke completed four of his nine passes for 35 yards.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints’ run defense was one of the best in the league last year, but in Week 1 it looked far from impressive. The Vikings ran for 213 yards, averaging 7.9 yards per carry, with a 64-yard rush by Mike Boone.
— NFL (@NFL) August 10, 2019
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The defense is still an issue for the Bucs. Last season Tampa Bay ranked 27th in total defense, giving up 383.4 yards per game. In Week 1 of the preseason, the Bucs continued the trend by giving up 30 points to most of the Steelers’ second and third string, including a 59-yard catch to Pittsburgh receiver Johnny Holton and a 43-yard haul by James Washington.